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Event will connect homeless with bike info, services

Posted by on August 21st, 2008 at 6:11 pm

random bike homes
A growing number of Portland’s homeless –
like Bill and his dog Buster shown here –
use bicycles to carry their belongings.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Project Homeless Connect is a city-funded program that provides services and information to Portland’s homeless population via a series of annual events.

Among the many types of help offered is a Transportation Area which offers a variety of services to help folks in need stay safe and mobile on two-wheels.

Local organizations (bike shops, non-profits, etc…) provide volunteers and the event is always a rousing success. At Friday’s event, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) will provide a classroom-style, bike road safety lesson. Upon completion of the class, participants earn a free bike helmet, a free bike tune-up and a set of lights.

Project Homeless Connect-2.jpg
Volunteer Ian Stude from PSU, helps
a customer at Project Homeless
Connect last winter.

As a recent story in the Portland Tribune (Downwardly mobile, 6/26/08) helped illustrate, a growing number of Portland’s homeless are getting around by bike. For a few stories about Portlanders living on the streets with their bikes, check out my “Street Life” series.

Project Homeless Connect didn’t make it into the Mayor’s last budget forecast, but organizers are hopeful funding will be restored next year.

    Project Homeless Connect
    Waterfront Park
    Friday, August 22nd from 10am-4pm

For more information, visit the Project Homeless Connect website.


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Comments
  • Scott Mizée August 21, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    It is also important to note that this is part of the HUGE Portland Cityfest event happening at Waterfront Park tomorrow and Saturday.

    I have been to a couple of these festivals before and would encourage everyone to come out and enjoy the free concerts, extreme sports, and kids activities.

    As part of the message of those following Jesus Christ, this will be a celebration of thousands of people around the area serving others and meeting their tangible needs this summer.

    Should be another chance for bike parking to be tested out at waterfront park. http://tinyurl.com/portlandrocks08

    The Project Homeless Connect portion is near the Burnside Bridge.
    Map http://www.portlandcityfest.com/uploads/ada%20map.JPG

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  • Jeff Ong August 22, 2008 at 8:59 am

    What exactly is the event you\’re describing, Jonathan? It\’s not really clear to me from the article, even after I followed the links (seems like an ongoing program, not an event per se). And is it really connected with the big Jesus-fest the previous commenter mentions? AND funded by the city? And will there be motorcycles jumping through the air, as promised by the Web site linked just above? I\’m confused, and need to know whether to be appalled or not!

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) August 22, 2008 at 9:11 am

    \”What exactly is the event you\’re describing, Jonathan?\”

    the event is Project Homeless Connect… which is also an ongoing program.

    I have no idea what the connection is with the \”big Jesus-fest\” mentioned by the first commenter.

    My hunch is that the City decided to tap into an already large event in order to have some built-in attendance at their event.

    jesus or not, the point is to deliver the services to as many people as possible. i\’m not sure what there is to be appalled about.

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  • Scott Mizée August 22, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Thanks Jonathan. Good clarification. Don\’t worry Jeff, you don\’t need to be appalled. There are plenty of other things already happening in the city that we can be appalled about. Both of these events are positive. I bet Jesus loves bikes too, just like you and me. :)

    regardless, the Portland Homeless Connect event sounds like a really neat avenue for helping folks with bikes. Have a great weekend!

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  • Jeff Ong August 22, 2008 at 10:09 am

    I guess I\’m most curious about whether city funds are really supporting an evangelical event (see also \”tent meeting\”). I strongly feel these services should be available to the homeless without the Christian rhetoric. It\’s great that a church is providing some services (and I\’m sure they don\’t only offer those services to the faithful), but it doesn\’t supplant the need for the city to offer the same services without marketing religion. Just my two cents!

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  • Scott Mizée August 22, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Good two cents Jeff.

    I don\’t think \”city funds are really supporting an evangelical event\”

    The Tribune article seems to offer an explanation showing that Project Homeless Connect was/is ongoing–The city was looking for organizations with similar goals that might be able to help with the work of the Homeless Connect project. It sounds like many organizations are involved and Palau is just one of those organizations.

    [...] Project Homeless Connect, which will bring service providers associated with homelessness together in one place.

    The partnership was set in motion when the city of Portland approached Palau, looking to tap his organization’s considerable resources in addressing local issues.

    Marshall Runkel, the resource development manager for the Office of Housing and Community Development, says Mayor Tom Potter made the request.

    “He essentially asked Luis Palau to help, and then the city and the Palau Association spent a year talking about different ways to work together,” Runkel says.

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  • Ron August 22, 2008 at 10:42 am

    I\’ve often wondered where the homeless dudes get Burley trailers. Those things are expensive! I know, I tow my son around in one. I bought it used via Craigslist. Even so, it cost a Ben Franklin.

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  • Scott Mizée August 22, 2008 at 10:53 am

    yeah… that Burley trailer in the picture above is a pretty nice looking one, isn\’t it…

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  • solid gold August 22, 2008 at 11:01 am

    well, it\’s pretty pathetic that our government would rather spend tax dollars on Pearl Condos than helping homeless people, while instead letting the American Taliban recruit them, but that\’s another story.

    that being said, helping homeless people is helping, regardless who it comes from.

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  • Metropoliscycles August 22, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Just because they are homeless, doesn\’t necessarily mean they are broke. Some of them are receiving SSI, VA, or other government assistance. When I worked at a large SE bike shop we would sell Burley trailers to people who lived off their bikes on a semi regular basis. Not to imply they aren\’t deserving of assistance because they are getting (small) checks from the Man, just saying homeless and indigent don\’t have to go hand in hand.

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  • Dag August 22, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    A burley trailer is still cheaper than moving into a new place, especially without solid credit and rental history.

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  • Deborah August 22, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Don\’t know who the thief was but a couple weeks ago someone stole the left tire off a Burley @ Creston Park. Dad & son came out of swim lessons and didn\’t have a way to get the kid home. I would suggest somehow locking the wheels up or replacing the quick releases. Not something I would have ever thought to worry about until I saw this poor father & son.

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  • volunteer August 22, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    I volunteered for a couple of hours at the bike section of the Homeless Connect Event. I\’m still not sure of the connection with the Cityfest stuff, but the two events seemed pretty separate. At the bike tent, after sitting in on a ten-minute bike safetly class (conducted by someone from the BTA), people could get a free helmet or a bike tune-up. There were volunteers on hand to help adjust helmets to make sure they fit properly. Quite a few people brought their kids or grandkids by for the class and to get helmets, and that was nice to see. As for tune-ups, the demand was so great, we had to stop taking bikes for while until the mechanics on hand could put a dent in the ones already turned in. They started taking bikes again in the afternoon. They had some bike lights to give away, but those went really fast. They also had an info table with all kinds of bike maps and info. The two mechanics were really good about answering quick \”how-to\” questions that people had.

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  • Ian Stude August 22, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Wow, thanks for the props, \’volunteer\’! We (Drew Meisel and myself from the PSU Bike Co-op) just got back from this awesome event. We got a lot of sun, tuned a lot of bikes and had a great time. The transportation tent was rockin\’! PDOT, the BTA, the Trauma Nurses and numerous patient and dedicated volunteers were all working hard and bringing the smiles to a whole bunch a folks. I\’m sad to say, though, that we had to turn people away because the demand was more than we could handle.

    I sincerely hope that this event will find it\’s way back onto the Mayor\’s budget. Word at the event was that this will be the last Project Homeless Connect until more funding is secured. I\’ll be writing our commissioners and mayor with an emphatic request for funding to be restored. I really hope that you will join me dropping quick line of support to our elected officials.

    And by the way, if any of you big-hearted mechanics out there in internet-land wanna join up and participate is this event (when next it comes around), then by all means, get in touch and let\’s make it happen.

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  • Eileen August 23, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Jeff, I think you are reading too much into it. Assuming that the city and some church group are both involved in a project to help homeless people, which group would you like to tell needs to end their involvement? I think the point is to help homeless people and I wouldn\’t respect either a church or a city that didn\’t have that on their agenda. If they can combine their resources to deliver services more efficiently, all the better wouldn\’t you say?

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